What do you guys like to do for final round in debate?

Author: Undefeatable ,

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  • Undefeatable
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    Undefeatable
    I noticed it’s difficult for me to stick the landing at the end after rebuttals because I feel I’ve exhausted everything especially after strong constructive and negations. What do you guys like to do for final rounds?
  • Ragnar
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    --> @Undefeatable
    Condense and summarize. It's a lot easier if you are the contender.

    I outlined some basics at:
  • whiteflame
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    Honestly, I'm still trying out a number of methods.

    The common method in the style of debate I hail from is to ask three questions or make three statements, and to put everything under those three. Whether it's questions or comments, the aim is to focus on the judge on the essential pieces of the debate. For this style of debate, a final round should not endeavor to cover everything discussed in the debate. It shouldn't be a series of rebuttals. Instead, it should focus on what happened and why it is important. There can be some rebuttal in there, but the essential thing is to crystallize and simplify. You obviously should explain why you think you're winning on those arguments.

    Another common strategy from a different style of debate I've partaken in, and more common to sites like this, is setting out clear voters. It has a similar function to what I've said before, but the aim isn't so much to summarize as it is to point out the issues you believe you're winning on and to harp on them. Usually, that requires a tagline of some kind, followed by statements of why a point is the most potent in the debate and what that means for the debate as a whole. One thing that tends to separate this from the first strategy is that there's more of a focus on your own arguments here. Your goal is to explain why you are winning, not the context in the debate, though that usually does come up in some way, shape or form. This also tends to be associated with large swaths of rebuttal, so you end a final round speech with voters, but you spend much of the round doing the usual line-by-line. It looks a lot more like a normal speech than the previous method.

    For me, I've been working on some mix of the two. My main goal (at least these days) in any final round is to have a clear comparison of the two worlds presented in the debate. I usually have substantial rebuttals, but my aim even with them is to paint a clear picture of how the debate shakes out. I used to be very line-by-line in the final round, but I don't do that as much anymore, choosing instead to take a step back from the individual arguments and assess how each argument works within the context of the debate. I feel that too few people do this anywhere - there's a sort of blind assumption built in that your arguments are both relevant and important to the debate simply because you defined things 4 or so rounds back. Even when it's just a reminder, judges appreciate going back to the resolution to clarify why those things are true. I also tend to use a lot of "even if" statements, largely because I assume that judges are going to buy some of my opponent's points. I think providing clear statements on why those points wouldn't net them the debate even if they were to win them does a lot to help guide the judge through a decision. For any debate, I try to do my best to ensure that my judges don't have to think too much. That's not because I don't trust them, but rather because I find that leaving more to the judge results in wider variance between decisions. The more time I've spent as a judge, the more I've grown to understand that as well. Judges often have a much wider view of the debate than the debaters do, and if anything is left unclear, they will try to make sense out of it however they can. Sometimes that will yield results you want. Sometimes it won't. So, I guide my judges in some ways, though not in the way that we so often see on sites like this where someone just declares that they are winning an argument. The goal should be to show, not tell, as much as possible. If I as the judge get opposing claims that each side is winning the same point and little else, then I'm left to pick out the reasons why each side thinks it's winning the same point.

    To some extent, I agree with Ragnar that it's easier to do all this as the contender. You're the last speech, usually, so you get to take everything into consideration. At the same time, I'd say I've had the most fun doing it as the instigator. I was the one who set up the burdens and the definitions to start. There may have been some debate over them, but it was my organization that set up this debate. Linking back to that first round and examining what that means for the debate just makes things feel more complete in a way that I haven't really gotten as a contender. In some cases I do, and then it feels about the same, but I like being able to bring things full circle.
  • armoredcat
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    Crystallization + everything else the same. 

    If you're losing handily on a contention by contention basis then the final round can be a good way to right the ship. One way to do this is to drop arguments that don't serve you/are unimportant and emphasize arguments that are crucial for your victory (i.e. arguments with big impacts that you can win). This way you can still have routes to the ballot. Obviously it depends on your judge, though, but I'm always voting for the debater who narrowly proved that policy X has a good chance of ending the world against the debater who clearly proved that policy X improves the economy, policy X ends poverty, and policy X creates international diplomacy or something.
  • whiteflame
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    --> @armoredcat
    Agreed on resisting the urge to go line-by-line in the final round. Emphasizing what matters most is definitely key to me, and crystallizing the debate should be the focus.

    You and I would definitely judge debates differently. I usually don’t like to reward big impact claims unless there’s a decent warrant. If it’s heavily mitigated, I’ll usually dismiss an argument with a huge impact as relatively weak, though I would want to see someone in the debate argue why that’s so (admittedly a rare thing to see, but important).